Sunset tonight begins Yom Kippur on the Jewish lunar calendar. Why do followers of Jesus care? For one, Jesus is Jewish! That is His context. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, has special significance this year. This Jewish year of 5776 is a year of Jubilee. Every 50 years is a year of Jubilee. It is written about in Leviticus 25. The intent is to restore God’s order to society. Debts are to be canceled and land restored to their original owners… well actually, to our Creator’s original stewards, because in reality, everything belongs to the one who made us. He put humanity in charge of managing it.
There is not much evidence that anyone actually observed the Jubilee as written in Leviticus. I’m pretty sure human nature took care of that, but personally I believe the spiritual reality of Jubilee remains intact. I can not begin to grasp the depths of what that looks like, but I will risk sharing a few gut level thoughts from my humble perspective of someone who has attempted to follow Jesus as faithfully as I can for over 35 years.
In Matthew 13 Jesus tells a parable of the wheat harvest and the weeds growing up together. To me, it feels like I am watching it happen. Awe inspiriting technological advances, discoveries to cure diseases, three American men disarming a terrorist on a train in Europe…but there is the terrorist in Europe who needed to be disarmed, the flood of war ravaged people fleeing in hope of a peaceful life and police, dedicated to our protection, being targeted and killed in cold blood. Appears to me to be a clear attempt at anarchy. The wheat and weeds growing up together.
Back in late May I wrote about a spiritual shift…God is in the air…. Well, I have a sense of the presence of God, pregnant with hope, offering courage for difficulties ahead. On the Day of Atonement followers of Jesus remember Jesus as the lamb of God, the final sacrifice to bring us back into right relationship with or Creator. I am reminded: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) I am to manage what my Creator has given me in a way that pleases Him. I am not my own.
As we begin this year of Jubilee and we watch the wheat and the weeds grow up together, remembering that the earth and all that is in it belongs to the Creator we begin the work of restoration. It begins in our heads and our hearts. Thinking and looking at our areas of influence from the place of stewards for the Creator and not ultimately in charge is always a wise place to begin.
So I ask myself, where in my areas of influence have I acted more like I’m the chief, forgetting I and my things ultimately belong to the one who made me? They are gifts to me to steward. How can I adjust my heart and mind to this reality?
Thank you Abba for your many abundant gifts in time, talents and belongings. I ask you to use this year of Jubilee to teach me to hold all loosely and steward well, to bring You glory! Amen